Social Work Leadership Is My Jam



Social work is so diverse yet so limiting.

The limitations stem from competition, outdated views, and gatekeeping. It seems that social workers have forgotten that the history of social work was not in psychotherapy and that there are 3 practice areas – micro, mezzo, and macro. The unfortunate result is division within the profession and confusion in society about the roles, strengths, and value of social workers.

Who are we and what do we really do?

I began exploring eco-social work in 2022 and quickly realized that there is only a hand full of ‘experts’ and the focus is more geared toward general environmental work than agriculture which is where my interests lie.

Is agricultural social work a thing? The article “A Call to Farms: Social Workers’ Role in Urban Agriculture” was published by the National Association of Social Workers California Chapter in 2014. We’re in 2023, yet it was the only article available online without going down the rabbit hole of research in academic journals. How is this possible given the fact that so many diverse groups of people are transitioning into homesteading, farming, and gardening? Do we clump this societal turning of the tides under the umbrella of rural social work, community development, green social work, public health social work, or some other area? See what I mean? I digress!

Similarly, do my over two decades of work experience fit more neatly into the mezzo or macro social work box?

I have no desire to fit neatly into any box, actually! The boxes and labels are limiting, yet social workers still love them. They are like safety blankets that no longer offer comfort and safety. I digress!

I’ve been called the supervisor’s supervisor and a true social work manager. I think prefer to be known as the social work leaders’ leader LOL.

I support high-performing women of color in social work leadership in developing a personal brand and area of expertise, strengthening their leadership skills, and increasing critical results – salary increase, job promotion, entrepreneurship, or organizational success.

If it will help me to help you, you can put my expertise and experience in the social work administration and management box.

The National Association of Social Work lists social work administration and management as a type of social work with this description, “Social work administrators are proactive leaders in public and private agencies that provide services to clients. Many elements of this area of social work practice are common to administration in other organizations. However, administration and management also require knowledge about social policy and the delivery of social services, vision for future planning, an understanding of human behavior, and commitment to social work ethics and values.”

My truth is that I love being in leadership as a social worker. My truth is also that I coach my clients, staff, students, and interns into leadership roles where they can be a part of the decision-making process. I believe wholeheartedly that things won’t change unless we change them.

If you are a woman of color in social work leadership who is ready to elevate her career with authenticity and intention, APPLY for my On My Terms Private Coaching package today.

The NASW definition of social work administration still sounds limited, but let’s roll with it and see where it takes us. Buckle up for this leadership ride!



Nicki Sanders, MSW, supports high-performing women of color in social work leadership in developing careers that feed their hearts, minds, and wallets. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams, volunteer recruitment and retention, and social impact programming. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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